When I found out five years ago that my autoimmune disease had progressed too much for me to ever
|Steve Johnson, photo.|
Since then, I’ve bounced back a bit. I know that there are some things I really wanted to do that I will never be able to do, but I’ve created a new life for myself. Recently, a friend of mine told me that a new choir was forming, auditions by invitation only. I hadn’t been able to sing for years as my health problems damaged my voice, but gradually, my voice was coming back. I instantly wanted to audition, but I dithered. It had been so long. I was out of practice and, well, scared. But I knew that if I didn’t try, I would always wonder. This choir, you see, was going to be the choir that performed with the symphony orchestra for my town. No small feat. And, secretly, I’d always dreamed of singing in the vast, ornate concert hall where the orchestra performed.
I prepared something simple and dressed up for the audition. The symphony conductor’s wife, a celebrated conductor in her own right, was going to be leading the choir. She was very nice but I was so nervous. I was sure I bombed my audition. But, the next day, I got the email inviting me to be a member of the choir. I simply couldn’t believe it. I was over the moon.
The rehearsals were so much fun. I feel most alive when I am singing. I felt happier and more hopeful than I had in years. Finally, once again, I felt like I was a part of something. I had to take naps all day the day of and the day after rehearsals, and to be careful to limit my activities, but it was worth it. Finally, it was time for us to perform in the Home for the Holidays concert with the symphony orchestra. I was like a kid. I was thrilled to discover that the rehearsal hall and the performance hall are connected by a long, winding, underground tunnel. As we passed Santa's dressing room, I giggled like a schoolgirl. It still didn’t seem real. But as I sat on the front row of the choir (how did that happen?) and the orchestra tuned up, I realized I was actually there, sitting right behind the percussion section.
We performed Friday night, Saturday night, and Sunday afternoon. I attended the choir party Sunday, then came home, exhausted but happy. As I took out my journal that night, I turned to the back and looked over my newly-created bucket list. Carefully, I put a check by the sentence, “Sing in the performance hall with the symphony.”
And my heart sang.